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30-12-2022 12:22

Address by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Ioannis Kasoulides, at the Cyprus – India Economic and Business Forum, in Lemesos

It is with great pleasure that I join all of you at today’s Cyprus-India Economic event. I would firstly like to congratulate the High Commission of India for the organisation of this excellent initiative, which aims to enhance the bilateral economic and business relations between our two countries.

Cyprus and India have traditionally shared excellent relations anchored on common historical experiences. Parameters like the fight against colonialism and the mutual adherence to global values of peace, democracy, human rights, peaceful resolution of disputes and rule of law, have brought our people closer and solidified the foundation of our strong relationship.

Over the years the two countries have progressively built on these historical ties, as testified amongst other by our joint membership and active participation in the Commonwealth, the United Nations and other international fora.

India is a key player, on the political and economic area. It plays an important and stabilizing role in the neighbourhood of South Asia, setting an example with its stand so that peace, security, stability and prosperity can prevail. In the same vein India has steadfastly stood in favour of reunifying Cyprus through a comprehensive settlement in line with UN Security Council Resolutions.

The multifaceted Cyprus – India partnership has steadily been growing stronger in recent years. The virtues of our 60 year long friendship provide us with a unique opportunity to surge ahead, exploring new areas of cooperation. It is precisely for these reasons that enhancing relations with India forms one of the core pillars of our foreign policy. Economic ties are a common denominator to this effort, and that is why the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is striving to upgrade these relations, working closely with other stakeholders in Cyprus, both in the private and public sectors.

There is an array of fields with untapped potential for cooperation in trade and investment, such as renewable energy, financial services, science and technology, ICT, Research and innovation, pharmaceuticals, shipping, tourism, and education and culture.

At the same time there is recognition of the great scope for further cooperation as regards relations between the European Union and India. In this respect, we support the momentum in the negotiations of the EU - India Free Trade Agreement. Cyprus is a strong voice within the EU of the importance and the need to strengthen tangibly EU - India relations.

Our world and our economies are faced with enormous challenges; a few years ago, we had to deal with the pandemic and the subsequent recession and disruption of value chains and more recently, the war in Ukraine, the food and energy crisis, as well as inflation.

Despite the hardships, the Cyprus economy shows signs of steady growth and remains committed to its policy for healthy public finances and continuous structural reforms, which aim at enhancing the competitiveness of the economy. It is noted that one of the main pillars of our economic policy, is the green and digital transition of the country, supported through funding from the European Union.

For 2022, GDP growth is expected to be around 5.7% and the projection for 2023 is around 3%, reflecting the heightened global uncertainty. Inflation has been increasing since September 2021, mainly due to the higher oil prices. 2022 figures are estimated at around 7.7% and for 2023 at about 3.0%.

It is therefore clear that Cyprus’ economy is stable and is continuously working towards improving its business climate. It presents many opportunities for investment across all sectors and on our side, we are strongly committed to working together with India, with an aim to strengthen our important partnership, political and economic, at bilateral and multilateral level.

I am certain that today’s event will bring us one step closer towards this goal.

Thank you very much for the invitation to address this event.

I wish everyone all the best for the new year.